cover image The Unkindest Cut

The Unkindest Cut

Gerald Hammond. Severn, $27.95 (176p) ISBN 978-0-7278-8177-9

Quaint details about the denizens of the Scottish hamlet of Birchgrove%E2%80%94human and animal%E2%80%94fill this appealing cozy from British veteran Hammond (With My Little Eye). Village vet Jane Highsmith and writer Roland Fox are looking forward to getting married, but Jane's impulsive decision to treat an injured puppy at her surgery on their wedding day results in a confrontation with a masked, knife-wielding thief, whom she accidentally tags with a pet-identifying microchip before he flees. When a gas station is later robbed in similar fashion, Det. Insp. Ian Fellowes hopes to use a microchip reader to identify the perpetrator. A warm note is introduced by Jane's association with Kempfield, a local institution whose purpose is to "lead the up-and-coming generation away from mischief" via training in useful vocations. A gossipy mystery refreshingly low on violence. (Oct.)